The Year of the Beasts
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The Year of the Beasts

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3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  499 ratings  ·  171 reviews
Every summer the trucks roll in, bringing the carnival and its infinite possibilities to town. This year Tessa and her younger sister Lulu are un-chaperoned and want to be first in line to experience the rides, the food... and the boys. Except this summer, jealousy will invade their relationship for the first time, setting in motion a course of events that can only end in...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by Roaring Brook Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,171)
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Jo
I wish I had some kind of superpower that allowed me to touch a book and get a feel of how much it was going to destroy me.
[Also, wouldn’t that make an incredibly geeky fantastic TV programme that only I would watch?]
Because I thought that this book was going to be a sweet book about first kisses and sisters and lovely things.
And it was.
But it was also the kind of book that punches you in the gut.
Multiple times.
And then just as you’ve got your breath back?
BOOM.
That’s it slapping you in the f...more
Melki
I was a teenage gorgon!

Fifteen-year-old Tessa spends her time brooding about WHY Charlie, the attractive, popular boy, prefers her younger sister. In the meantime, she finds possible true love, or at least LUST, with Jasper...but, dammit! He's not socially presentable.

Wow! Such problems...

Maybe I'm just too old for this book. I no longer find teenage-girl-angst charming. I find it gratingly tedious. But my biggest problem with this one is that Tessa seems to have NOTHING ELSE going on with her l...more
Patrick
A strange bird here. A story with chapters of YA novel alternating with chapters of graphic novel.

Both stories are related, but the time frames don't mesh. And while the YA novel doesn't have any element of the fantastic involved, the graphic novel is full of mythic elements.

First, let me say that I've enjoyed a lot of Castellucci's work in the past. Good storyteller.

Second, I admire the hell out of her for being willing to take a risk. For being willing to try something new and different. I...more
Sarah
Apr 30, 2012 Sarah rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lovers of experimental forms, mythology or art.
Shelves: 2012, net-galley
4.5 stars

{This review was originally published on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves.

I don't know what I was expecting from The Year of the Beasts, but I definitely didn't anticipate having my heart ripped out and stomped to bits in this slim, heart-wrenching novel-meets-comic.

Young adult novelist Cecil Castellucci and comic artist Nate Powell teamed up to create a fascinating story told in alternating chapters. Castellucci's chapters are straight-forward narrative about the changing relationships betwee...more
BAYA Librarian
Cecil Castellucii and Nate Powell teamed up to deliver this hybrid novel whose disparate parts fail to congeal into a satisfactory whole. Castellucci's prose sections are about a young teen named Tessa whose younger sister Lulu suddenly becomes much cooler than her one summer, winning the hand of the boy Tessa likes. Powell's comics sections -- which appear as alternating chapters -- take place at a high school where everyone has turned into a mythological monster, with the main girl (Tessa) tra...more
Emma Sea
A magical YA graphic novel, that made me cry in public. Fuck, I'm so mad at Tessa for (view spoiler) Obviously, the story had me gripped.
Kellee
Reviewed at: http://www.teachmentortexts.com/2012/...

4.5 stars
Such an interesting novel that will definitely get a second read. Told in a dual format of prose and graphic novel, Cecil Castellucci tells us the story of two very different girls- One is a modern day Medusa who hates what she has become and keeps turning everyone she loves into stone; the other is a teenage girl filled with jealousy for her younger sister who is dating the boy of her dreams. When finished with the book, you will def...more
Terri
CLN - Printz possibility #3

"The Year of the Beast," which is getting some Printz buzz, is told in alternating chapters of prose and graphic novel formats. The prose chapters concern two sisters, Tessa and Lulu. When Tessa's younger sister:

1. gets the boy Tessa thinks she likes, Charlie
2. starts hanging out with Tessa's best friend, Celina
3. grows taller and more beautiful

Tessa is consumed with jealousy. Because of her envy, she makes Lulu's life miserable, all the while carrying on a secret rel...more
Hugo Schoen
Cecil Castellucci inspired me with this book. After finishing the last page and glancing at her credits, I thought aloud, "I really need to get involved in writing childrens books". I tore through 'The Year of the Beasts' in just a couple hours, anxious for the emotions that previous reviewers said would come exploding out of my chest. I wanted those tears. My patience was rewarded with the thought that young people today, young readers, must be grossly misjudged in their ability to interpret an...more
Amy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily
This is one of those one-summer-changes-everything books. It is the story of Tessa, and her younger sister Lulu, and of Medusa and a Minotaur and a Mermaid all at once. It is a story of jealousy, inadequacy, friendship, and insecurities. Tessa is the ultimate jealous older sister. Pretty understandable, considering how beautiful, charismatic, understanding, and together Lulu, her little sister is. Tessa, with her crazy hair, and her outsider-ness, and utter spazitude with boys, feels like a mess...more
Edan
This book is more a 4.5 star book for me, but I'm rounding up because 1) The prose-graphic novel hybrid genre was unique and pretty dang spectacular and worth an extra point or two, and 2) Cecil is my homegirl, and 3) Why not? Sometimes this book did indeed amaze me.

I really liked the sad, dark places this book went--not only in the events, but the feelings of its main character, Tess. She has some pretty unsavory thoughts about her sister; they are selfish thoughts: immature and complicated and...more
Warren
I picked this up because of the two creators, mainly for Nate Powell but I was also familiar with some of Cecil Castellucci's work. Alternating chapters of prose and graphic novel. Halfway through the book, I asked myself why am I reading this god-awful teenage romance story of secret trysts and sister rivalry and wondered how the graphic portion tied in with the story, thinking this would be better appreciated by tween girls. But a tragedy towards the end redeems the story and cleverly unites t...more
Kelly
While I thought the mixed method approach to story telling was neat and well-woven, the story as a whole didn't work for me. There's a mythology to it, and while I got it, I thought the stronger storyline -- the notion of being lost in the shadow of your sister, of being lost in the shadow of yourself -- got swallowed in the mythology. Castellucci writes in a way I really appreciate. It's tight and it's direct, but I felt this book suffered from too much concept and not enough development.

Inter...more
Frank Racz
This book is unique in that a graphic novel and novel are alternated between chapters. Immediately the reader is immersed in the realism of the prose and the surreal nature of the graphic novel. Initially the two make little sense as the reader is trying to form a conclusion about how the graphic novel and prose interlink.

The daily depictions of adolescent longing, love, and playful interaction were starting to become standard fair in the prose until the very end. Suddenly the reader cannot hel...more
Claire
Apr 11, 2012 Claire rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya, rev
This is interesting, but it didn't all connect for me. It felt kind of sketched out -- I wanted the details filled in. Loved the parallel narratives, though, and the way the connections between them slowly became clear.
Edward Sullivan
A compelling tale of jealousy, life-altering tragedy, shame, and grief told in chapters alternating in prose and graphic narrative.
Erin
Mar 12, 2014 Erin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of contemporary stories and comics
Recommended to Erin by: My brother
I got this book for Christmas from my brother about a year and a half ago. I had no idea what it was going to be about. The first time I read it, I read it in a day. Now it is only like one hundred and twenty pages, but still, I couldn't put it down. This is one of my absolute favorite books ever. Something that I find very unique about this book is that every other chapter is a comic. The comic tends to mirror and tell the future of the story. So the main character, Tessa, has insanely curly h...more
Elizabeth
Good God.
Sob.

That's all b/c I've given away too much already.
Angelina Bee
Simple story, nicely woven metaphorical comics. Sad and human.
Diane Ferbrache
Tessa and Lulu are sisters and friends. Even though Lulu is a year younger, they get along well until a boy that Tessa likes starts dating Lulu, Tessa’s best friend Celina starts hanging out with Lulu, and Lulu has a growth spurt and gets taller and prettier than Tessa. Tessa’s jealousy starts to take over. The only time Tessa is really happy is when she’s with Jasper, a boy that’s an outcast. Interspersed with the story of Tessa and Lulu is a graphic novel that’s really an allegory – the story...more
Courtney
I've been meaning to read Castellucci for some time now. Since this new one got a lot of buzz, I figured it might be an OK place to start. Now, I think I might be hooked.
This is the story of a girl named Tessa who is, this year, just old enough to go to the town's carnival without parental supervision. Tessa is still stuck taking her younger sister, Lulu, along with her and her friends. Tessa isn't happy about it, but it's better than having their parents along. There's a boy, you see, and Tess...more
Annie
This book is devastating. And not just because of the ending when you finally realize how to the two stories (the real-life one told through text and the mythological one told through interspersed, graphic-novel chapters) fit together. It's emotionally hard to read because if there's one thing Cecil Castellucci is good at, it's capturing that feeling of being an outsider.

I think one of the reasons that high school can be such a brutal time is that even people who have great friends and a loving...more
readknitread
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Donna
Now I'm kinda torn on YEAR OF THE BEASTS. On one hand I liked the voice and the storytelling, along with the set-up of the story itself, how it alternated between prose and comic. On the other hand I just wasn't all that thrilled with the story and ended up thinking is was a bit melodramatic.

The whole carnival aspect that the blurb emphasized is really minimal. It happened at the very beginning of the story and while it was the catalyst for the story to move forward the way it did that's the end...more
Jazz
Fluid prose meets evocative comics in this tale of young love and regret. Alternating chapters of prose and comics seem to be telling different stories until the narratives meet in a shocking way. Tessa experiences growing pains she never thought she'd have when her little sister Lulu wins the heart of the boy Tessa loves. Tessa enters a quiet rebellion when she starts having trysts with Jasper, the strangest boy in town. Unable to get over her jealousy, Tessa’s coldness toward her sister rises...more
Becky
I don't get it.
For me it was obvious at the beginning that Tessa is the Medusa character and the alternating comics and prose chapters are supposed to come together in some profound way. Only, I didn't think it was profound or surprising or any of that.
The prose chapters are so plainly written as to be boring. They have the tone of a simple fairy tale with one dimensional characters, one dimensional relationships, and a lot of telling and not much showing, as they say.
As I was reading it I tho...more
Brooke
Two sisters. The younger one gets the boy the older one wants and the older one is jealous, even though she ends up with her own secret boyfriend- the awkward guy no one really likes. 1/4 of the book is a graphic novel about a girl with hair as snakes who is basically medusa. At some point I expected these stories to come together in an awesome way, and that is why I kept reading...and yet they really didn't. They sort of did, but I didn't really get it and it just didn't work for me. Also, spoi...more
Marika
When Tessa's younger sister Lulu tags along to the fair with her and her best friend Celina, Tessa's annoyed. But when Lulu leaves the curiosity sideshow tent holding the hand of the boy Tessa has a crush on, Tessa feels betrayed. Then Lulu begins to spend more time with Celina, until Tessa feels more like the unwelcome younger sister than Lulu. Not that Tessa hasn't found someone to kiss this summer, but her boyfriend, Jasper, is a strange outcast, and their romance is a secret one. Intersperse...more
Tasha
Told in chapters that alternate Castellucci’s writing with Powell’s graphics, this is the story of two sisters. When the summer carnival comes to town, Tessa, her younger sister Lulu and her best friend Celina get to go to the carnival without their parents for the first time. After meeting up with a group of boys they know, the three girls and the boys head to the sideshow tent with its darkness and opportunities. But Tessa’s plans don’t quite work out, and the boy she has a crush on, Charlie,...more
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Sno-Isle Mock Printz: The Year of the Beasts 3 9 Oct 30, 2012 06:59PM  
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Cecil Castellucci is an author of young adult novels and comic books, most notably Boy Proof and The PLAIN Janes. Upcoming in 2014 is book one of her new sci duology TIN STAR.

She is also the author of The Year of the Beasts, First Day on Earth, Rose Sees Red, Beige, The Queen of Cool and Janes in Love. Her short stories can be found in various anthologies such as After, Teeth, Truth & Dare, Th...more
More about Cecil Castellucci...
The Plain Janes (Janes #1) Boy Proof Janes in Love (Janes #2) Beige Odd Duck

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“There's a beast in all of us, you know,' Jasper said.
'No,' Tessa said.
'Yes, a monster right inside of us all,' Jasper said.
They wondered what theirs looked like. They faced each other and blinked while making faces to try to capture the phantom.”
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